Examination of Witnesses (Questions 180-182)
MR TIM WILLIAMS, MR ROB SCOTT AND MR CARL POWELL
TUESDAY 25 JUNE 2002
180. The Government has doubled funding for the Housing Corporation but despite this, because of the historic deficit, most people would agree that funding is inadequate. What level of funding do you think is needed to meet the current demand?
(Mr Scott) I am not sure that it is only a question of funding. The regional priority allocation system needs to work much better than it does at the moment, because funds still are not being directed towards those areas where there is opportunity to create affordable housing.
181. But Mr Powell said that central London boroughs cannot meet the demand on their own; they cannot fund it on their own. Bearing that in mind, coming from Tower Hamlets, could you tell me what your view is on that, please?
(Mr Powell) Having worked in Tower Hamlets for three years before I went into merchant banking, I am well familiar with the problems that you have in Tower Hamlets. Yes, it is not as simple as my colleagues have said, of simply bumping the price tag up or increasing price limits. There does need to be an overall increase. If you look at the number of houses we are building in London now, 30 years ago we had 100,000 starts a year; we have a tiny fraction of that at the moment. We are failing the nation. The public sector is failing in terms of meeting those obligations. Whether it is a small level of housing grant money that goes into it or a large level is not going to solve that.
182. Just give me your answer. £1.7 billion is what some people have said we need adding in. What do you say?
(Mr Powell) We need at least that much.